From my Patreon! Chapter 2 (of 3 currently) for The Gift!
You can find my page at: https://www.patreon.com/markgraham
Warm afternoon sunlight filtered through tall, dilapidated buildings. The air was sour with the scent of offal from nearby butchers and emptied chamber pots. Agnes stepped lightly around puddles on the dirty, uneven ground. She held a wicker basket against her hip and a dainty hand over her nose while praying for a cool breeze to move the stale air.
Nearly all the lords and ladies were busy at the wedding with their fancy clothes and jewelry while she sweated through the stench of the lower city. She breathed heavily and then swallowed, holding back the urge to vomit in the streets.
Peasants bustled around her. They called to each other, filling the air with the noise of their gossip and wares for sale. She waved at a few acquaintances with her free hand but continued on. Matilda awaited her back at the castle and she was eager to return. Although the wedding ceremony itself was held at the cathedral, the new couple would return to the castle for the feast in their honor. When the nobles were finished and in their beds, they wouldn’t care or even think about what happened to the leftover food and drink. They would have their own feast then and she dreamed of dancing with Ralf through the empty great hall.
The young scullery maid smiled sweetly and twirled in the street, sidestepping a yellow puddle as she imagined herself in a pretty dress that she’d never own.
Sweat rolled down her face, mixing with traces of dirt. She rubbed at her cheeks with her hand, sighing at the streaks of mud it left behind. The heat was stifling and the air seemed to be holding its breath. She shrugged, pulling her basket higher on her hips while quickening her pace.
The King’s Peace finally stood before her. Agnes looked around, rubbing at her arms while frowning. The oppressing stillness in the air intensified as she’d walked. She whirled, suddenly certain someone was standing behind her. An old man screeched at his wife across the lane but she was otherwise alone. Still, she shivered as if a cold hand caressed her neck.
No dogs or cats filled the lane. Only now did she realize they were missing. Her path was usually cursed with stray, mangy hounds playing and fighting and begging for food. Scrawny cats, too poor at hunting mice to be given a warm spot inside, normally mewled piteously or fought with roaming dogs or slowly stalked the few birds that chanced to land within reach. She could spy none of them and hadn’t remembered any since she left the castle.
A passing woman stopped mid stride to stare at the sky. The old woman’s toothless mouth worked as she considered the clouds far above. Satisfied with whatever she saw, she forked her fingers in a strange sign while whispering under her breath. The woman turned on her heel to hobble with ungainly speed back the way she’d come.
“Don’t pay her no mind, girl,” a gruff voice said behind her. The inn’s guard, Albin, sat back against the wall. His eyes were red and he hid a wide yawn behind the back of his hand. “Crazy old woman doesn’t do nothin’ but walk the road mumblin’ to hesself all day. Go on in, now.”
Agnes gave a brief curtsy when Albin kicked the door open with his heel. The heat inside the inn was nearly intolerable. Even with the windows opened, the air refused to move and the sparse patrons seemed in a daze. The inn’s serving girl, Lina, gave a feeble wave before disappearing into the kitchen to fetch a customer’s order.
The young woman moved through the huge, open room to the back. She gave the kitchen wide berth. It seemed a living creature with a clanging heart and fiery breath that only added to the pervasive mugginess filling the inn.
Finally, she arrived at the open storeroom. Set further back and above the inn’s meager ice room, it was cooler and she sighed in relief. The girl set her basket down and leaned back against the wall with her eyes closed. Her head felt tight and full and ready to burst from the weather, distant stench and oppressing mood filling the air. She began to grow drowsy in the cool room until the loud bang of the inn’s door being slammed open startled her. Cursing her sudden weariness, she grabbed her basket and began to collect the items from her list.
Lost in her own thoughts and moving sluggishly she didn’t hear the man until he was at her shoulder. His whispering voice was low and hungry. “I thought I smelled you.”
Agnes screamed, dropping her basket. She turned, pushing herself back against the shelves. A glass jar shattered near her feet. Before her, a hulking man stood hunched in the middle of the room. His sand colored hair was shaggy and in disarray and stubble covered his pale cheeks.
“Ralf!” Agnes gasped. Her lover’s shirt hung loosely against his wide body but his pants clung tightly to him, bulging at the waist. Agnes glanced down, blushed and then glanced back up to his eyes. They were wild with too much white showing and he seemed to be breathing hard. “Aren’t you supposed to be-”
He moved, grabbing her wrist in a strong, rough hand. He twisted, pushing her painfully against the nearby wall. She could feel his hot breath on her face. He kissed her cheek and neck awkwardly while rubbing himself against her. She could feel his excitement even through her tunic. His free hand traced down her body, gripping her breast painfully before sliding down to grab her hip. He grunted and pulled her back, the hand holding her wrist coming down to grab her neck.
“Y-you’re hurting me, Ralf,” Agnes said. He released her throat and his weight shifted against her, pulling back. She tried to slip away but his grip on her waist tightened. Cool air swirled against her thighs as the man pulled her tunic up to expose her. “S-s-slow down, I can’t- oh!”
She felt him against her, hard and hot, his manhood on her bare lower back. She tried to move again but he was suddenly against her, his teeth nipping at her ear. He moaned, low and deep without speaking. His hand grabbed at her chest and then higher to her collar, tugging and pulling until he gave up to slip within to grab her bare breast. The man’s hips rocked back and forth behind her, the head of his cock slipping between her ass cheeks before gliding against her back, slick with thick pre-cum.
A small part of her felt the shame that this wasn’t their first time together. They’d spent many hidden moments away from their parents, finding empty nooks and rooms where they could explore each other. Bright moments of hot passion and happiness in their rough, low lives.
But not this. He’d always been gentle. Almost shy with her. He was the son of a cobbler raised with loving parents and he’d always treated her with love.
She shook and twisted, trying to get away but he held her tight, licking her neck and cheek while thrusting against her. He held her breast with one hand and her hip with the other. Her young lover lifted her body one-handed and she cried out when she felt his cock press against her sex.
“I’ll- I’ll scream, Ralf! Stop! I’ll-” Agnes kicked, grabbing at the man’s wrist when he pushed against her. He growled and pushed harder, angry at her dryness.
“‘Gonna spread you open,” he panted near her ear before licking it again. His broad, coarse tongue lashed at her soft skin and hair. The young cobbler took his hand from within her tunic. He shoved her forward hard against the wall just as she began to scream and the air rushed from her lungs. His hands squeezed her slim ass cheeks and he pulled, trying to spread her open to his continued thrusting. “Fuck you. Gonna fuck you and breed you like a bitch, Agnes. Gonna mount you and fuck you.”
The pain between her legs was sharp and intense and she felt as if she’d tear at any moment. He seemed huge against her and she prayed that whatever madness had taken him would pass quickly. That he’d grew frustrated that she wouldn’t-
She screamed when he finally entered her. He filled her completely and the agony of it drove her to tears. Ignoring her whimpering and shaking, he thrust quickly in and out. His guttural language devolved into grunts and growls and panting until she felt him tense against her, spilling his hot seed deep within. She prayed he would stop. Prayed that with his release, he would leave her to her shame and suffering. She could feel his hot cum dribbling down her thighs and the sudden wetness within only drove him more wild. He forced her to her knees and then all fours, growling as he pounded her from behind.
Her vision began to dim and she welcomed it. Before she could faint, Ralf stopped mid-thrust. She heard him growl again and he pulled out of her with a wet pop. A torrent of his cum followed, spurting to the ground. She trembled and tried to speak but her throat was too dry.
The gentle cobbler’s son stood behind her and ran, tripping on the trousers around his ankles. He tumbled and rolled before coming to a stop. She watched with clouded vision as he easily ripped his trousers with a sharp tug. The man went to all fours and disappeared around the corner.
Agnes rolled to her side and sobbed. She slowly became aware of sounds around her. Shouting and crashing and screaming in the inn and in the distance. With shuddering breath, she pulled herself up, leaning on the shelves nearby. Broken jars littered the room, the smell of pickled vegetables and jams masking the scent of sex. The sharp scent of pickled radishes began to overwhelm her and she gagged while it burned her nose.
“There you are!” Albin yelled. She looked up to see the guard wild-eyed. He was holding his sword out and blood dripped from the tip of it. He grabbed her and pulled, bringing her into the hallway. His lazy, slurred morning speech was gone. “You have to run! Quickly, girl, back to the castle!”
“B-but what-” She stuttered as he shoved her into the common room. Broken tables and chairs filled the area and she was sure she spotted two bodies on the floor in the corner.
“Get. To. The. Castle,” the guard hissed. He pulled her behind him and out into the street. “I’ll follow behind we’ll die if we stay here.”
Black smoke billowed from several buildings. People ran screaming in a mad rush, pushing each other to the ground without a backwards glance.
She ran. Stumbling, cursing her long tunic, her weak legs and the throbbing pain between her thighs. Unlike the others, she knew the shortcuts to the castle and she made quick progress ducking into filthy alleys.
The scullery maid turned a corner and screamed when a gloved hand grabbed her. Sharp steel pressed against her neck.
“W-w-w-wait!” she cried. The blade pulled away and Agnes gasped, her heart pounding in her chest. The castle loomed in front of her and she stood at the southern gate. A small line of people, commoners and nobles alike, waited in front of the gate. Guards surrounded all of them and she spotted the captain at the head of the line. “I just need to get inside, please!”
“You and er’yone else, woman,” the guard spat. He stopped back but his eyes were hard on her. “Step in line and wait your turn.”
The maid stood at the end of the short line. She pressed a hand against her aching belly and glanced around with wide eyes. The pain was beginning to pass and she was grateful for it. She could still smell him on her and she shifted from one foot to the other when she felt more of his seed slid down her leg. It was hot and sticky and she licked her lips, trembling as it traced a slow, sensitive line along her thigh.
“Damn you and your manners!” Another man, a noble despite his tattered clothes, lined up behind her. His face was red and sweaty and he turned back to the guardsman to argue with him again.
“What’s happened?” Agnes asked the man in front of her. She vaguely remembered him working somewhere at the castle but couldn’t recall his name. Instead of answering, the man stepped away from her. He had a young boy with him – his son by the look of him – and a cold, untrusting look in his eyes. She could smell the scent of horses on him and she inhaled deeply, her nostrils flaring.
The line moved quickly. She watched the captain inspect everyone at the front of the line and blushed as the men were asked to remove their underclothes in front of everyone. Despite the red in her cheeks, she found herself eyeing the thickly muscled lad in front of the groom.
The fading, painful ache between her legs made her teeth itch. The throbbing was changing now, matching her heartbeat. She scented the air for young man. Her blood rushed in her ears and she moaned quietly at a sudden, sharp release within her guts. It opened inside of her, filling her with a pleasurable warmth.
But something else tickled her nose and her ears twitched as she looked for the source of it. Something that made her mouth water and the heat grow.
“Step forward!” the captain commanded. Agnes stood before the captain. He held his sword forward, pointed at her heart. “Were you bitten? Or scratched? Don’t lie to me now, girl.”
“Bitten by what?” she asked, confused by the question. What was that wondrous scent filling the air? She breathed deeply, thrilling as the nerves in her stomach lit up. “I- no, I haven’t been bitten by anything.”
“Search her,” the captain said, his sword never wavering.
More gloved hands grabbed her upper arms, holding her in place. A third guard came from behind, checking her bare skin Drool filled her mouth and she swallowed a moan that nearly escaped her lips. The scent was nearly overpowering. Behind her. Light brown hairs grew from the backs of her ears. Her small, pink tongue licked quickly around her lips. She instinctively leaned forward to raise her hips and flashed back to a memory of the storeroom. On all fours. Taken from behind. Her heart pounded in her chest, not from fear but from excitement at the thought of it. The small hairs at the back of her neck stood at attention.
“Strip, woman,” the captain told her as the guards stepped back. She looked around, lifting her chin and breathing deeply. It was the noble behind her. He stood hunched over, groaning with his hands on his stomach. She flashed her teeth and her lips trembled with need. “Woman!”
“Ahh!” the noble cried out, falling to his knees. He grabbed at his chest as dark claws pierced his fingertips. He pulled, ripping the shirt in half. Fur was growing among his dark black chest hair and his jaw crunched while expanding into a muzzle. “Wh-wh-whaaaooooooowww!”
“Kill him!” The captain screamed, pushing past the scullery maid. Guards swarmed the man as he changed. Muscles bulging, ripping through his clothes while he howled and swiped at lunging swords.
Agnes reached trembling fingers towards the creature before stopping. She blinked, eyes growing wide at the sight of it towering above the armored soldiers.
“What am I doing?” she whispered. A commoner pushed past her, shrieking in fear. Another followed and the scullery maid turned to go with them, racing for the safety of the castle’s gate. A guard screamed at all of them from within the castle, gesturing for them to hurry before he slammed the wicket shut.
She fell to all fours as she slipped through the closing door, tripping on her side-slit tunic. More hair sprouted from her ears and the skin flowed to small points that flicked in the dim torchlight. She hung her head, panting before pushing her ass back and up at the scent of the male beyond the door.
“Get up, girl!” the guard yelled at her, kicking her hip to get her moving. “Don’t lay there like a fool! Make your way inside and report to your station. We need everyone we can before we lock the gates. Tell no-one inside of what you saw. If a panic starts, we could all die.”
The young woman clawed at the floor with a low moan and then pushed up. Despite the coolness of the castle, sweat ran from her brow and along her back. She could feel every tiny hair along her stomach and lower belly as they dragged against the stiff cotton fabric covering her body. Every tiny nerve of her stomach and hips were afire. The guard aimed another kick at her but she moved smoothly to the side, baring her teeth at him. Her canines lengthened slowly in her jaw, scraping at the nearby teeth.
It took a moment to orient herself inside the castle but she sniffed the air and soon remembered the way. She could smell the fear in the castle. Fear and sweat and the stench of midden heaps. And food. The kitchens were close. Agnes shook her head and licked her lips again. The scent of the creature outside was gone, too distant and covered by the smell of the castle. She could still hear faint screams but nothing else.
It had been monstrous. A man but then not – full of fur and fangs and power. She trembled, placing her hand against the cool wall while she walked. Hairs grew from the back of her knuckles. More followed along the side of her hand, slowly, lazily sprouting in a faint line to her wrist and forearm. He’d burst from his pants when he’d stood. His cock standing at attention. It’d been swelling before she’d ran. Thick and hard like Ralf’s when he took her earlier on all fours.
Her fingers swelled. The joints popped quietly. She kept walking, dragging her hand along the wall. Listening to the way her nails scraped the stone. Thinking of the creature’s claws against her shoulders. The flesh along the bottom of her palm and fingers darkened from pink to light brown. The soft skin grew thick and leathery.
Finally, she stood before the kitchen door. Her furred, sharp ears flicked beneath her hair. She could hear Matilda within. Along with the other girls. They sounded unconcerned and, as she scented the air, she could tell they weren’t afraid. That they didn’t know what was happening outside.
Her lover filled her thoughts again, unbidden. She pressed her forehead against the door frame. Picturing him behind her. Grabbing her roughly. Licking and biting and forcing himself on her. Fucking her.
She gasped and moaned and raised her ass when his words echoed in her mind. Gonna fuck you and breed you like a bitch.
The fabric around her hips grew tight, pressing against her skin. Muscles formed within her thighs and ass and her smooth, pale skin bulged with hard lines. She licked at her lips, feeling the rough wet tongue against her nose. The scullery maid pressed her hips back further, remembering the feel of him behind her. Her tunic lifted slightly against her growing waist and several stitches popped around her waist.
… breed you…
The maid pushed the old, warped wooden door open and stepped into the kitchen.
“Agnes!” Matilda cried out. “Girl, you were gone so long, I was starting to worry about you. Where are the supplies I sent you for?”
Ignoring the older woman, Agnes sniffed deeply. She turned and caught Beatrice glancing down quickly. The other girl’s cheeks were flaming red. She could smell the girl’s need. How had she never noticed? She bared her teeth with her mouth open, breathing deeply of the spicy scent the girl gave off towards her.
“Girl, I asked-”
“I heard,” the scullery maid interrupted. Her hackles rose at the tone in the old maid’s voice. How dare she? “There was some trouble at the inn and they told me to come back to the castle.”
“Trouble? Are you-”
“I’m fine,” Agnes growled. She turned back to Beatrice and smiled widely, showing her teeth. She made sure the girl was looking before running a hand down her stomach and over her wide, powerful hips.
Matilda frowned, eyeing her scullery maid. She opened her mouth to speak and then shut it again. Tapping her large wooden spoon against her dirty apron, she considered for a moment. “I need some flour from the cellar. Take Sibyl to help-”
“I’d rather Beatrice help me,” Agnes said, her eyes freely roaming the girl’s body.
“Fine!” the old maid snapped. “Just be quick about it!”
The two women left the kitchen, Beatrice following behind Agnes with her head down and eyes locked to the floor in front of her. The scullery maid’s wide, strong hips swayed seductively before the younger girl. She stalked in front of her, laughing quietly as the other girl’s scent filled the hallway. It was intoxicating and only served to rile her even more.
The air grew cold as they walked down the steps to the cellar and no words were spoken. Large casks lined the walls in widely spaced rows. Beatrice made for the back, towards the flour and other stored goods but Agnes grabbed her wrist. Her large, padded hands easily circled the small girl’s wrist.
She kissed the younger girl, one hand at the back of the girl’s head, her fingers sliding through her hair. Her long, wide tongue filled the girl’s mouth and she walked her back toward the wall nearby.
“Agnes, I- ohhh!” the girl said as they broke apart, panting. Her fingers going to the scullery maid’s hair as the older woman kissed the girl’s neck and bare shoulder, nipping lightly with her long, sharp fangs. “Oh god. Oh god!”
She pulled at the top of the younger girl’s simple bodice and the other woman yelped as breasts were exposed to the cold air. Her small, pink nipples were hard from the attention and the cold air and Agnes wasted no time, lowering her head to suck one in her mouth. She pulled back, lapping slowly at the girl’s breast, her rough tongue dragging against the girl’s swollen nipple. Bones cracked within the scullery maid’s jaw. Her mouth widened, pulling at her nose. Flattening it on her face. Dark lines appeared beneath the skin of her nose and her face pushed forward slowly.
“Oh! Oh! Oh god yes!” the young girl cried out.
Agnes stood back, running her tongue along the lips of her growing muzzle. She took the girl’s dainty hand in her larger paw, leading her toward an empty table in the middle of the room. The heat was driving her mad and she would deny herself no longer. She would do murder for a hard, fat cock but an eager, wet mouth would suffice.
Turning, the scullery maid sat on the table. She hiked her tunic up over her powerful, bare thighs. Beatrice came to her, the younger girl’s small, pert breasts heaving with every quick breath she took. Her wet nipple glistened in the flickering torch light surrounding them. The scullery maid grabbed her tunic at the collar and pulled. Muscles bulged in her biceps. She strained and the muscles flexed until the fabric tore, spilling her large breasts. Ripping further, she exposed herself, laying back on her elbows over the ruin of her clothes.
She felt inflamed. In heat. Her body on fire from need. Every nerve standing at attention. She spread her legs and her sex opened, showing slick pink lips. Ralf’s cum coated her thighs and the thick hair covering her pussy, mixing with her own juices. Her musk and his filled the room and she growled, one hand going to her breast to claw and massage the soft skin.
“I don’t- I never-” Beatrice said, kneeling before the older woman. Agnes sat up, grabbing the other girl’s head. “Ow! Be gen- what’s wrong with your fa-”
The maid shoved the young girl’s head between her thighs, rubbing her nose and mouth against her soaking wet pussy. She felt the other woman’s mouth open and her little tongue dart between her lips. With a quiet, hungry howl, she laid back, digging her nails into the top of the table. More hair sprouted along the back of her hand and forearm, thicker now. She could feel it move and pull at her skin with the drafts flowing through the room. Small black points pierced her nails and she clawed at the table while Beatrice eagerly worked her mouth.
Pinpricks of pain flared on the maid’s stomach. She hissed in annoyance and looked down. Tiny brown hairs were sprouting from her lower stomach but, above those, dark spots were forming beneath the skin of her hardened belly. The maid jerked, arching her back when Beatrice accidentally nipped at her thick lower lip.
“I’m sorry!” the young girl said, pulling back. Her face shined in the light, covered in the older woman’s juices. Beatrice swallowed and then licked her lips, cleaning Ralf’s cum from her mouth. She swallowed again and then greedily cleaned her face one more time. Her tongue hung to her chin. Slowly, the sharp tip of it flared slightly. Like a dog’s tongue.
Growling, the older woman grabbed the young girl’s head, pulling her to her lightly furred belly. She pressed her face against one of the forming sore spots. Confused, the girl looked up and then her eyes widened. The skin in her mouth bulged and twisted. Small ducts grew within her body, connecting to the growing skin until a fat drop of clear milk formed on Agnes’ first teat. Beatrice took an instinctive suck at the nipple and then moaned, closing her eyes while working the nipple around her mouth with her long tongue.
Fur grew from the older woman’s back and shoulders and her face cracked again, pushing out into a long muzzle. She grabbed one of her other teats hard, pulling at it and relishing the pain that mixed with the pleasure.
The fur on her belly was lengthening. Beatrice broke off Agne’s teat with a sigh and then rubbed her face in the older woman’s fur. The younger girl’s face popped and cracked, widening as her own face had. She looked down the other girl’s body to see the back of her dress lifting slowly.
“I’m so hot, Agnes,” Beatrice panted, her long tongue hanging from her mouth. “I can’t, I can’t think. I’m burning up. I need. I need you. I can’t-”
Agnes growled, shoving the other girl hard to the ground. The young woman tumbled and sprawled and then looked up with a loud, snapping growl, her tiny canine teeth showing on a wide face.
The maid stood from the table and she felt the stub of her tail sliding against her large ass. It swayed behind her, popping with each new growth. Patches of fur swayed in the air as she stalked to the younger woman. Her ears lengthened and shifted along her head, sliding through her loose hair. She bared her teeth in a snarl and the other woman immediately lowered her head with a whimper.
The scullery maid when to all fours, her heavy breasts dangling beneath her. The other girl whined again and then turned, raising her hips.
“Please,” the young girl begged, her voice slurred with her thick tongue. “Please, I can’t- I can’t stand the heat. Please. Oh god, I need your mouth on me. I need you inside of me. I can’t stop the pain. I need-”
The maid slammed the girl to the ground. With sharp, deadly claws, she raked the other girl’s back, causing her to scream. And yet, she raised her head and ass and the scent of her sudden, fierce wetness flooded the room. The older woman dug her claws into the girl’s ass, raising her hips and spreading her open. She tasted the other girl, her wide tongue lapping at the sweet nectar between her thighs. The smaller girl’s stubby, bare tail wagged above her ass and hair sprouted around the older woman’s large paws.
Stuttering words gave way to moaning and then animalistic grunting. The older woman felt bones popping and moving beneath the girl’s skin. The soft skin of the girl’s ass expanded over new muscle and the small girl pushed back with sudden strength, forcing her pussy into the older woman’s muzzle. Agne’s tongue slipped between the girl’s tight, virgin sex. Her tiny pink lips darkened and swelled, moving as bones creaked. Her lips turned in, pushing together at the center while widening until she was large enough to take a proper mate. Blonde fur sprouted along the red claw marks of her back and then spread, growing to her sides and stomach.
With a sudden, loud howl, the young girl came powerfully. She trembled and snapped at the air, clawing at the ground with lengthening fingers. Her lithe body quivered and she rolled, pushing away from her lover. The dusting of fur around the smaller wolf girl’s teats were darkened with drops of her milk, shaken free from their lovemaking.
The older woman lapped gently at the other girl’s changed sex and then along the hard muscles of her bare thigh – already being covered by a growing coat of fur. Down she licked, caressing the girl’s body with rough paws until she reached the feet.
With a groan, driven part by desire and part by a new instinctual need, Agnes cleaned the bottom of the other girl’s foot. Beatrice jerked, clawing at the ground and twisting in the older maid’s grasp but was held tight. The girl’s toes popped as new bones grew shifted under the skin. She took the girl’s big toe gently in her muzzle, wrapping the elongating joint with her tongue as if it were a nipple. She massaged the sole, feeling the rough skin of a manual laborer soften and grow dark. Slowly, sensually, she ran her tongue between each long toe of the girl’s growing paw. Cleaning her. Pleasuring her.
The dark skin along the balls of the girl’s wide new paws slowly swelled. The smaller she wolf nearly mewled when Agnes lapped at the leathery skin. She twisted her muzzle, swirling her tongue along skin and growing fur. Lastly, she took the girl’s dewclaw in her mouth, enjoying the feel of the smaller claw against her tongue.
Agnes stood, gently dropping the girl’s paws. And, after a moment, the small girl stood on strong but trembling legs. Their thick, furred tails swished as they scented the air. They left the room together, the older wolf girl leading the way.
The large she-wolf smiled as she tasted the scents of the castle.
So many to convert, she thought as they made their way back to the kitchen.